The sabbath was made for humankind; and not humankind for the sabbath. We hear Jesus say this today, on a Saturday at the end of the first week of Epiphany. I am struck with a memory from when I was a child. My parents had a regular refrain about their distress about stores and places of employment being open and operating on the sabbath, which for them was Sunday, not Saturday. They often talked about their childhood and early years and how those establishments did not operate on God's day. We still have vestiges of that mindset today, with liquor not being sold on Sundays, or after sundown on Saturdays. An enforced sabbath, so to speak.
But Jesus makes it plain: this day of rest is meant for us, not us for it. I think we lose a part of ourselves when we forget that. Even more so, I think we lose part of our ongoing relationship with God when we forget this teaching. Particularly in today's stressful economic climate, having a time, each week, to give to sabbath time can help reduce the stress levels that so pervade so much of our existence. We need to remember to breathe, breathe deeply the love God has for us, savor it like we do any good glass of wine. Taking some sabbath time in the week helps us to find the strength to face what we must, to do what needs to be done. Don't get caught up in rules and regulations, but remember that a sabbath time was made for us, not vice versa.
Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.